Chocolate Cures

Why is it that diets have such harsh sounding K-type names like PritiKin, AtKins and Kellogg Special K? Would diets not be more enticing if they used kinder, gentler soothing sounds such as Nestle, Hershey and Peppermint Patty? “I’m here to see Dr. Wonka about starting the Tootsie roll diet.”

Too busy advising a diet of high fibre, low fat, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, blah blah blah, seldom do we admonish adopting a diet high in chocolate macaroons, Black Forest cake or Baby Ruth’s. Well chocoholics may want to unite behind researchers at the University of California who are uncovering the positive medical benefits of chocolate. As it turns out, the cocoa plant is loaded in good old catechins, polyphenols and certain flavenoids. Not only do these phytochemicals appear to have an intriguing cardioprotective effect, they also actually decrease nasty LDL cholesterol. Chocolate has a positive effect on brain neurotransmitters and can act as a mood enhancer. Cocoa has also been found to be rich in powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants. In fact, in 1998 the British Medical Journal printed studies that showed that a few pieces of chocolate a month actually helped to extend life! Hey, sign me up for the study! Give me a chocolate physical, heck go ahead and inoculate me, intravenously.

Should chocolate become the newest health treatment, I’d be the first to open up a Willie Wonka candy-oriented clinic. We’d be open After Eight as we Skittle about spreading Mounds of fun and Almond Joy. We’d use Pez dispensers to take temperatures (oral only). We could fudge the test results. “Congratulations Sweet Marie, you’re expecting Twix. You’re going to have a couple of everlasting gobstoppers.” Terminal patients could eat Death by Chocolate and… OK, I can tell I’m getting carried away here as evidenced by the saliva on my keyboard. (“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”…Willie Wonka)

Though it’s unlikely we’ll ever see Hershey’s Phenylethyamine bar on the candy shelf, the names of certain candy bars do in fact remind me of some of the exciting new medications available today. For example:

1. M&M’s could well stand for Maxeran and Maxalt, the latest in treatment for migraines. Many migraineurs suffer from debilitating nausea/vomiting, which often prevents the ingestion of medicine. Maxeran abolishes the nausea. Maxalt is a wonderful new migraine drug that, like M&M’s, melts in your mouth, not in your stomach. It is actually a wafer that dissolves on the tongue and works so well at curing the headache that is now far and away my favorite drug for treating migraines.

2. Aero – Asthmatics can be severely aero-challenged. Their life is one of puffers, pills and panicky panting. Now a new disk, Advair, has revolutionized asthma treatment as it has consolidated various puffers into a single device. No more multiple puffers. This disk is not only very easy to operate but it is highly effective for moderate to severe asthmatics.

3. Butterfinger – For those who have blood running in their butterstream, several new and effective cholesterol-lowering medications can now lower your serum grease levels to normal.

4. Sees Chocolates – No real medical correlation, but I include these in hopes that the free advertising in this widely read column will generate a “thank you” from this very wonderful company with handsome and generous management.

5. Mercedes Benz – ditto, (why not) 6. Mr. Big, Skor, and Oh Henry! : Viagra has revolutionized ED (erectile dysfunction). Previously treated only by injections, vacuum devices and implants, the little blue pill is now one of the commonest prescriptions prescribed by prescribers.

Do stay tuned for more exciting results of long term chocolate studies. Even if “the suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last.” Wonka

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